What Is a WMS Implementation Checklist?
A WMS implementation checklist is a document used that contains all the fundamental steps when implementing a new Warehouse Management System (WMS). It also contains tips for each step and some proven best practices based on actual WMS implementations.
A warehouse management system is a system composed of tools (mostly software) and workflow processes that enables the effective management of inventories and logistics. It also enables warehouses to cut down labor costs and maximize warehouse spaces.
Many companies that own warehouses shift to better warehouse management systems because they are more efficient and cost-effective than their previous ones. And this is crucial in becoming competitive in today’s market where consumer demands are getting larger and supply chains are getting wider.
As we’ve previously mentioned, warehouse management systems are constantly getting better over time due to continuous technological improvements in both software and hardware capabilities. That is why it is critical to know the fundamental steps to implement a new warehouse management system properly. In the brief guide below, we will explain how to use best a WMS implementation checklist and WMS implementation plan.
In this article, the following points are explained:
What Are the Fundamental WMS Implementation Steps?
Based on the WMS implementation guide, there are six fundamental steps to ensure a successful transition to a new warehouse management system. Below are the details of each step and why they are crucial for implementation.
Step 1: Create an Implementation Team
One of the biggest hurdles in transferring to a new WMS is how large and tedious the task is. And therefore needs a large and dedicated team in order to complete the system transfer.
Aside from the number of people, it is required by the WMS implementation checklist that team members have sufficient competencies in three aspects: managerial, technical, and user engagement. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they should be experts in each area, each member can only have one specialty and adequate knowledge in the other two.
Below is the list of recommendations on what should the team be comprised of:
- Project Manager
- C-Level Sponsor
- WMS Analyst
- WMS Developer
- WMS Test Engineer
- 3rd-party Consultants
- Vendor Consultants
- Representatives from each warehouse department
Step 2: Create a WMS Change Strategy
Changes in how a system works can be frightening to company employees, possibly due to low trust in their managers, lack of communication, or the trouble of learning new competencies.
This fear of change will bring challenges during implementation, but this can be greatly relieved by creating a concrete strategy. A concrete strategy shows what changes and benefits can be expected during and after the WMS implementation. Based on the WMS implementation checklist, creating a concrete WMS strategy comprises two aspects: a change management plan and a user engagement plan.
A change management plan refers to creating a strategy on the business and management side of things. The WMS implementation project plan example can be done by consulting the new warehouse management system vendor on what support they will give. This way, there will be no loose ends, and whatever the vendor support lacks can be accommodated internally. It also involves forecasting how much and how long the system transfer is needed.
A user engagement plan refers to creating a strategy to involve and inform the employees of the planned WMS implementation. The WMS implementation checklist can be done by using various multiple communication channels such as meetings, news boards, and e-mails.
Step 3: Migration of Old WMS Data
Data migration is the process of taking the existing warehouse management data and then integrating it seamlessly with the new system. This step can be quite tedious, but the WMS vendor usually carries it out, so the client company will wait. There are two things that the WMS client must focus on: target schedules and data quality.
When setting up target schedules, expectations must be thoroughly discussed between the vendor and client. It must be realistic but not too lax because a lax schedule will generate significant losses due to the disruption it creates.
According to the WMS implementation checklist, data quality is correlated to keeping records updated before migration. And that is because it creates confusion during inventory settlements.
Step 4: Training of Users to the New WMS
Training the users refers to teaching the end-users, which are the employees, about how to use the new WMS system effectively. This also involves providing them with learning materials such as handbooks, modules, and video presentations. Employee training should be a collaborative effort by the vendor and company because they share the common goal of successfully launching the new system.
And the WMS implementation guide recommends doing this with proper pacing. This means balancing the needed time and effort by the employees to learn the new system while still being able to do their workload. Furthermore, rushing the learning process risks repeating the training process, which will generate unnecessary losses.
As we’ve previously mentioned, employees tend to react when implementing a new warehouse maintenance system negatively. That is why companies find training to be very effective when it is incentivized. For example, providing them food during training or considering their training period for overtime pay.
Step 5: Launch the New WMS System
Before launching the new WMS system, it is recommended by the WMS implementation checklist to create a launch plan. Creating a launch plan means deciding on the final details of the launching procedures such as resource allocation, test procedures, acceptance conditions, and system policies before going live with the new system.
During the launch, the final testing is also commenced. Final testing refers to checking all the technical elements of the new WMS system during launch. This should be done with complete hardware, software, users, network, and interfaces with the purpose of completely checking the intended WMS framework.
- Integration tests
- Functional tests
- System tests
- Performance tests
- Stress tests
- Usability tests
After the testing, sign-off will be done on the results together with the acceptance certificates.
Step 6: Evaluate the New WMS System
After going live, the WMS implementation checklist’s final step is to evaluate the system transfer results continuously. Yes, although it is the final step, it is a continuous process that should be done after the launch.
The purpose of the evaluation is to verify if the initially calculated return on investments (ROI) has been achieved. Aside from ROI, key performance indicators (KPI) like productivity, order completion rate, and inventory condition should be compared. If evaluation seems to point out that there is no significant improvement or it is not hitting the targets, then improvements have to be done to the system.
Mobile WMS Implementation Tool to Guarantee Success
Logisticians can use a digital tool like Lumiform to create a solid foundation for successfully implementing a new warehouse management software. Using the inspection and audit software can avoid mistakes when implementing a (new) program.
Guarantee the successful implementation of your plans and improve warehouse logistics through WMS implementation with Lumiform’s powerful desktop software and mobile app. Take advantage of the following benefits when you sign up for free today:
- Use checklists for WMS selection and implementation anytime, anywhere, and on any mobile device.
- Create custom templates by dragging and dropping with the flexible form builder or use a template from the Lumiform library.
- Assign implementation actions to the appropriate colleague with a priority level and due date.
- Monitor completion of requirements via your dashboard and resolve implementation difficulties together as a team.
- Automatically generate a report after each implementation goal is met and send it as a PDF, CSV, Excel, or Word file.
- Secure all data in the cloud and use it for future evaluations of your warehouse management system.
Try Lumiform for free